PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A new study shows parents are reaching deeper and deeper into their pockets so their kids can play sports. It shows that many families spend about 10% of their annual income on sports-related fees and equipment.
Youth sports is a $5 billion industry, on average families in the United States, spend about $600 a year on their kids sports, but for many families that number is a steal. Most parents we spoke with who have two kids in year-round sports spend about $600 per month.
As they watch their kids learn how to hit the ball out of the park, many valley parents are also watching their dollars fly away. Registration fees, monthly dues, uniforms, equipment, tournaments, the costs add up quickly.
"I would say it was easily $1,000 a month," said Eric Gardner.
Gardner has two boys ages 10 and 12 who both play competitive baseball and soccer.
One mother has four boys in competitive sports; her expenses come to nearly $20,000 a year.
"I probably don't want to add it up, but I'm sure it would be right in there, probably right around $17,000 or $18,000 a year probably," said the woman.
And it's not just money they're spending, it's also a lot of time with practices, games, and travel.
"Saturday we played at and 5 in Gilbert, we left the house at 11, and we got back at 8:30 p.m.," she said.
For kids who dream of making their high school sports team, getting their kids involved in club sports early is necessary. Gardner is also a high school coach.
"The kids that come into our program, most of them are very well experienced in club, and without that experience I don't think they're at the same level of play as other players, and that's what parents are running into, they feel if they don't do that, their kids are behind," said Gardner.
In the end these parents say when it comes to their kids' happiness, the costs are worth it.
According to the National Council on Yout Sports, the most expensive youth sport is football, followed by baseball, and then hockey, basketball, and soccer.